New Civilization News: The Junior Woodchucks' Guide Book    
 The Junior Woodchucks' Guide Book22 comments
picture 25 Apr 2004 @ 07:19, by Flemming Funch

When I was a kid, a relatively significant portion of my attention was dedicated to Donald Duck magazines. The new issue of Anders And (Donald Duck in Danish) came out every Tuesday. I don't think there's any issue between 1960 and 1970 I hadn't read a number of times over. And, well, the best ones were the old ones. Original Carl Barks stories, particularly. I haven't noticed any equivalent magazine in the U.S., although they obviously existed in earlier times, so it seems to have been a bigger deal in Europe. "Anders And & Co" still comes out every week in Denmark. Disney licensed out the characters, so most of the content has been created in Europe for many years.

As everybody knows, Donald Duck has three nephews: Huey, Dewey and Louie. They are members of the Junior Woodchucks, which is a kind of boyscout group. And, now, to get to the point, they have a most useful accessory: "The Junior Woodchucks' Guide Book". I only just looked up what it is called in English. I know it as "Grønspættebogen", which means almost the same thing in Danish. Anyway, the cool thing is that this book seems to have the answer to anything. Not just boyscout stuff about tying knots and starting fires. No, just about anything anybody wants to know. Just look it up in the guide book. Translations of ancient languages, advanced chemistry lessons. How everything works. The history of everything. I'm not sure if it promised to contain everything, but it always seemed to provide some useful knowledge whenever Huey, Dewey and Louie looked anything up in it. Which they would cheerfully read aloud, and it would most of the time get them out of trouble.

According to one of the story lines, the guide book was written by Guardians of The Lost Library of Alexandria.

Naturally I would like one of those books. I would really like the knowledge of the world to be presented in such a handy format.

The closest thing to it in the real world is an encyclopedia. Maybe Wikipedia is what comes closest on the net.

But it is also a certain philosophy, of presenting knowledge in a simple and immediately useful how-to format. We find that for example in survival manuals. On my bookshelf is the U.S. Army's Survival Handbook. It explains how you would survive in wilderness. If you find yourself stranded far from civilization, but you happen to have the book with you, it will explain how to build a good shelter from branches and leaves, and it will tell you what kinds of plants you're likely to be able to eat, and what you should do if you get bitten by a snake.

So much of our knowledge is inaccessible. It is embedded in vastly specialized fields with complicated terminology, which it takes years to master. Our organization of knowledge is so distributed and specialized that it wouldn't take much of an interruption of our civilization to lose most of it. How are metals extracted from the earth? How do I make electricity? I have vague ideas about much of it, but if I had to start from scratch, I wouldn't get very far.

There isn't any terribly good reason we shouldn't have most of what we know handy in an encyclopedic overview format.

Personally, the way I learn best is to get the big overview first. Some people learn differently, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm confused if I can't get the big overview executive summary up front. Give me the key points, and then I have a framework to fill the details into.

I can't count the number of times I've had to read some big, long text in order to realize that it adds up to something quite simple that could have been said in a few sentences. I'd like to have those sentences up front please.

There are plenty of books and websites that do that, of course. I guess I'd just like to be better able to find them first.

Or I'll just have to join the Junior Woodchucks.



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22 comments

25 Apr 2004 @ 09:40 by jmarc : hehe
just started reading {LINK:http://www.logix.cz/michal/Douglas_Adams/Douglas%20Adams%20-%20The%20hitchhikers%20guide%20to%20the%20galaxy.txt|The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy} again last night.
"In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of
the Galaxy, the Hitch Hiker's Guide has already supplanted the great
Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and
wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is
apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more
pedestrian work in two important respects.
First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words Don't
Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover."
"The reason why it was published in the form of a micro sub meson
electronic component is that if it were printed in normal book form, an
interstellar hitch hiker would require several inconveniently large
buildings to carry it around in." That's what's needed eh? Well, that and a nice Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster to drink while reading it,and a towel, of course..
 



25 Apr 2004 @ 10:12 by ming : Hitchhikers Guide
Heheh, yes, that's even better. Let me look for it on amazon.galaxy...  


26 Apr 2004 @ 03:34 by lugon @213.96.167.75 : lent it to daughter in Spanish
Hi Ming

It was 2-3 weeks ago that I "lent" the book to my daughter. If she treats it well I may, just may, give it to her.

If books like that one have contributed to shaping the minds of part of a generatio (maybe a sensitive part, or a part with "that type of parents or relatives"), then it would be interesting to do a "retrospective-cohort" study and ask where those readers are now.

Just collect a handful of blogs and - oh, sorry, bloggers are already a biased subset of mankind.

Ok, whatever.  



26 Apr 2004 @ 16:30 by Natalie @82.35.44.52 : Guide book
There is a very useful book called something like: "How To Do Practically Anything" and I had a copy which was taken away from me by somebody who thought they needed it more than I do.
Anyway, it had a huge variety of subjects and really did go into a lot of detail for each of them. I just wish I had the damn thing back because now I can't remember who published it. It might be traceable via Amazon, if I got the title right.  



27 Apr 2004 @ 06:04 by ming : How to do anything
Maybe it is {link:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0895779366/worldtransfor-20|How to do just about anything}? Anyway, that one looks good, even if that wan't the one. I love books like that.  


1 Jun 2004 @ 09:52 by Dave @63.104.216.69 : I need the overview too
I tend to learn the same way. A few years ago I stumbled on Students Concise Encyclopedia, or something like that. It's great, it has short tib bits on just about EVERYTHING you can think of. Wish I found it back when I was in school.  


27 Sep 2006 @ 14:34 by Chuck Woodside @131.44.121.252 : Junior Woodchuck's handbook
I read those comics back in the 50s and I, too, longed to get my hands on a Junior Woodchuck's handbook. I recommend you go to Ebay and find a Boy Scout FIELD manual from the '40s. It shows you how to roast an ox over an open fire!  


23 Jan 2009 @ 17:43 by Bogdan @77.78.196.196 : awesome
i think u guyz are realy cool  


26 Jul 2009 @ 13:13 by Branko Collin @82.92.181.129 : the real thing
Why not just get the Junior Woodchucks Guidebook? It was printed in at least four languages in the 1970s, as far as I can tell, and has helped me through many a tough spot, although truth be told it is a bit thin on the ancient languages side.  


26 Jul 2009 @ 13:14 by Branko Collin @82.92.181.129 : The mystery of the lost link
Hm, I included a link to a blog posting about the real thing, but it got deleted by your system. Let's see if the following works:

http://www.24oranges.nl/2008/08/17/1970s-junior-woodchucks-guidebook/#comment-3101

(If not, just search for my name in connection with the phrase "1970s Junior Woodchucks Guidebook".)  



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18 Aug 2016 @ 10:42 by National drink of Pakistan @182.186.141.16 : Malik
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23 Sep 2016 @ 09:12 by friv kids free @117.6.3.221 : dgkl
I tend to learn the same way. A few years ago I stumbled on Students Concise Encyclopedia, or something like that. It's great, it has short tib bits on just about EVERYTHING you can think of. Wish I found it back when I was in school  


24 Sep 2016 @ 06:50 by Plakat Wisuda @36.73.93.61 : nice posting
just want to comment because see Donald Duck's nephews :D
They are so funny and sometimes made me annoyed LOL  



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